How to Make Moving with Kids
Easier on the Whole Family
A move is one of the most stressful projects most adults undertake. You need to find a new home, sell your current one, pack up all your possessions, get them to another location in one piece, and then settle in to a whole new community. It is so stressful for us, in fact, that we sometimes forget how difficult it can be for our kids. Luckily, a combination of communication and collaboration can make the whole process easier for everyone in the family.
Finding the Perfect Home
Before the move, you will, of course, have to find the perfect home for your family. As soon as I told my three children that we were going to be moving to a new home, the requests came pouring in. One wanted a treehouse while another thought an indoor slide was an absolute must. These are both fun ideas, but when researching the best neighborhoods in your region, make sure to take into consideration things like nearby schools, grocery shops, parks, hospitals, and other services. You also need to consider the price of your preferred neighborhood since prices can vary significantly.
Telling the Kids
One of the hardest parts of moving with kids is explaining to them that they are going to be leaving their home and potentially their friends. Younger kids will have a hard time processing this, while older ones are more likely to feel a sense of injustice and rebel. Be patient, understand their frustration, and do your best to get them enthusiastic about the new place. I gave each of my children a piece of paper and asked them to draw their dream room including wall color, layout, and decorations. Then, after we moved, I tried to incorporate as much as possible (within reason of course).
Parents.com recommends getting young kids to make a book about their current home. Tell them to take pictures of the house, the neighborhood, and their friends, and then create a scrapbook of their memories. At the end of the book, add a picture of the new house.
Decluttering with Kids
The moving packing process is a great opportunity for the whole family to take stock of what you own and what you can get rid of. Dedicate a couple of days for everyone to go through their stuff and get rid of anything they don’t want. Let the kids do their own rooms and decide what they want to keep or give away, but let them see that you are also doing this at the same time. According to Time, your kids are more likely to declutter if they see you are doing it as well.
The process should be thorough. Take the opportunity to get the kids to sift through their school papers, notebooks, and stationery from past years. Make them try on any old clothes and give them away if they do not fit. Getting the kids to get rid of toys will be the biggest challenge, so set targets and explain to them the importance of donating toys to the less fortunate.
Packing with Kids
The decluttering and packing stages can go together. Give all the kids a few boxes so that they can start putting away the things they intend to take with them, especially anything they are not likely to need in the near future. Be sure to pack up anything that is breakable before letting them loose. I learned this the hard way when I found my youngest trying to pack away the bedside lamps.
Teach them how to assemble the cardboard boxes (medium-sized boxes are available at U-haul for $1.49 each) and the best way to pack them, and then let them do their own. To make it more fun, give them a selection of markers so they can decorate and label the boxes however they wish. For instance, you could tell them to draw the contents of the box on the outside and sign their names. For you, this has the advantage of making the boxes easily identifiable when you are moving them into the new home.
The most important thing to remember throughout the move is that your child should feel included in the process. Moving can make a child feel helpless; after all, their whole life is being uprooted and they did not get a say in it. Keep them informed throughout the moving process (for example, show them the houses you are looking to buy), tell them as much as you can about where they are going, and empower them to make their own decisions about things like packing. This keeps them in the loop and makes them feel more in control of the situation.